India will surpass the US as the second largest market for smartphones globally by 2016, helped by device makers offering affordable handsets, research firm eMarketer said.
According to eMarketer, increasing penetration of affordable smart mobile devices in emerging markets will help smartphone users worldwide surpass the 2 billion-mark in 2016.
"India will exceed 200 million smartphone users, topping the US as the world's second largest smartphone market by 2016," eMarketer said in its latest report.
(Also see: India the Fastest Growing Asia Pacific Smartphone Market in Q3: IDC)
According to the report, China will continue to lead the rankings in 2016 with 624.7 million smartphone followed by India (204.1 million), the US (198.5 million), Russia (65.1 million) and Japan (61.2 million).
In 2014, China will have an estimated 519.7 million smartphone users followed by the US at 165.3 million, India (123.3 million), Japan (50.8 million) and Russia (49 million), it added.
For the first time, more than a quarter of the global population will use smartphones in 2015 and by 2018 over one-third of consumers worldwide (or more than 2.56 billion people) will do so, it said.
Smartphone users globally will surpass 2 billion in 2016 after nearly getting there in 2015. In 2015, there will be over 1.91 billion smartphone users across the globe, a figure that will increase another 12.6 percent to near 2.16 billion in 2016, the research firm said.
The number of active smartphone users around the world hit the 1 billion-mark last year (1.31 billion) with China leading the tally at 436.1 million, the US (143.9 million), India (76 million), Japan (40.5 million) and Russia (35.8 million), it added.
"Inexpensive smartphones are opening new opportunities for marketing and commerce in emerging markets where many consumers previously had no access to the Internet," eMarketer added.
However in mature and established markets, smartphones are quickly shifting the paradigm for consumer media usage and impressing the need for marketers to become more mobile-centric, it said.